Trans Canada Open Season Ends Tomorrow

Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage

Trans Canada’s open season for a natural gas pipeline ends tomorrow.  The company opened its proposed pipeline for bids from natural gas producers on the North Slope three months ago under the terms of the state’s Alaska Gas Inducement Act, which also guarantees producers ten years of tax stability.  A second open season is also underway, put forward by Conoco-Phillips and BP.

Trans Canada Vice President for Alaska Development, Tony Palmer, said today that a number of potential bidders have visited the secure offices the company set up for putting bids together, known as data rooms.  All bids will be opened at close of business tomorrow.

Palmer says if there are no bids, he can make that announcement right away, but conditioned bids would take weeks of negotiations, and all of that would have to take place behind the scenes, because of the intensely competitive nature of the industry.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requires the company to tell all bidders by September first whether it plans to go ahead with the pipeline.

Exxon-Mobil has formed a partnership with Trans Canada, but Palmer says that does not automatically translate into a bid from the North Slope’s largest gas producer.

The Trans Canada proposal allows producers the option to bid to ship their gas through a shorter pipeline to Valdez, as well as to the gas pipeline hub in Alberta.  The other proposal – called the “Denali” pipeline – does not contain that option.

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